The identification of therapeutic targets in metastatic melanoma

Dutton-Regester, Ken (2012) The identification of therapeutic targets in metastatic melanoma. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


Metastatic melanoma, a cancer historically refractory to chemotherapeutic strategies, has a poor prognosis and accounts for the majority of skin cancer related mortality. Although the recent approval of two new drugs combating this disease, Ipilimumab and Vemurafenib (PLX4032), has demonstrated for the first time in decades an improvement in overall survival; the clinical efficacy of these drugs has been marred by severe adverse immune reactions and acquired drug resistance in patients, respectively. Thus, understanding the etiology of metastatic melanoma will contribute to the improvement of current therapeutic strategies while leading to the development of novel drug approaches.

In order to identify recurrently mutated genes of therapeutic relevance in metastatic melanoma, a panel of stage III local lymph node melanomas were extensively characterised using high-throughput genomic technologies. This led to the identification of mutations in TFG in 5% of melanomas from a candidate gene sequencing approach using SNP array analysis, 24% of melanomas with mutations in MAP3K5 or MAP3K9 though unbiased whole-exome sequencing strategies, and inactivating mutations in NF1 in BRAF/NRAS wild type tumours though pathway analysis. Lastly, this thesis describes the development of a melanoma specific mutation panel that can rapidly identify clinically relevant mutation profiles that could guide effective treatment strategies through a personalised therapeutic approach.

These findings are discussed in respect to a number of important issues raised by this study including the current limitation of next-generation sequencing technology, the difficulty in identifying ‘driver’ mutations critical to the development of melanoma due to high carcinogenic exposure by UV radiation, and the ultimate application of mutation screening in a personalised therapeutic setting. In summary, a number novel genes involved in metastatic melanoma have been identified that may have relevance for current therapeutic strategies in treating this disease.

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ID Code: 53305
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Herington, Adrian
Additional Information: Recipient of 2012 Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award
Keywords: melanomaration sequencing, somatic mutation, next-generation sequencing, targeted drug, cancer, ODTA
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Aug 2012 01:35
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 01:57

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